When the Yankees arrived at Camden Yards on Friday, the Baltimore Orioles — as they had come to be known in recent years — were virtually unrecognizable.
Gone was Manny Machado, the infielder who was the franchise cornerstone. So, too, were Jonathan Schoop, the late-blooming second baseman, and pitchers Kevin Gausman, Brad Brach and Darren O’Day. The once-feared closer, Zach Britton, was now in the Yankees’ clubhouse. All departed in trades last month as the Orioles tried to rebuild from the detritus of this season.
And then there were the uniforms: fluorescent, traffic-cone orange jerseys that the Orioles wore as part of the Players’ Weekend promotion.
Still, something looked very familiar as the Orioles, baseball’s worst team, again confounded the Yankees, who needed a late rally to tie the score and 10th-inning home runs from Neil Walker and Luke Voit to finish with a 7-5 victory.
The Orioles, who have won just five games this month, have six victories in their 13 games against the Yankees this season.
The Yankees’ late home runs — a solo blast by Walker with one out and then Voit’s two-run homer, his second of the game — came off right-hander Cody Carroll, one of three minor leaguers the Yankees sent to Baltimore a month ago for Britton.
Britton, thrust into his familiar closer’s role after Aroldis Chapman was sent to the disabled list, managed to get his first save as a Yankee. But this was hardly the homecoming Britton had in mind, allowing a long home run to his former teammate Chris Davis with two outs.
“I’m not going to live that one down forever,” said Britton, who already had a text from Davis by the time he returned to his locker.
It was “a weird night” for Britton, who awkwardly tipped his cap from the bullpen after a video of his Orioles highlights was shown on the center-field scoreboard, but it was a restorative one for the rest of the Yankees.
They twice had to dig out of holes and probably would have been ruing another loss to the Orioles if not for Voit and Walker, who each had three hits to carry an offense that is increasingly straining from the prolonged absences of Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and, more recently, Didi Gregorius.
The urgency is such that the Yankees are no longer content to let first baseman Greg Bird hit his way into form.
“Performance matters,” Manager Aaron Boone said.
Bird went hitless in his last 13 at-bats, and his batting average dropped to .202.
That’s why Walker, who has recovered from an arduous start, continues to earn playing time at second base, third base and lately right field.
And why Voit — who was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals last month and called up from the minors Tuesday when Gregorius went on the disabled list — has surely created more opportunities for himself.
In addition to the two home runs, his first extra-base hits as a Yankee, Voit delivered a jolt of enthusiasm as he bolted around the bases, carrying himself like the hulking linebacker he was before shoulder injuries forced him to give up football in high school.
It was the type of verve that the analyst Pedro Martinez said had been missing from the Yankees of late, and it energized the visitors’ dugout.
“You saw something that everybody kind of enjoys, and when it’s coming in big spots like that, to get us back in the game, to add to a lead — yeah, I think everyone gets a jolt out of that,” Boone said.
When Voit, who had five career home runs before Friday, drove a curveball from Alex Cobb into the left-field bleachers with Walker aboard in the fourth to tie the score, 2-2, he recoiled with joy the moment the ball struck the bat.
“Finally that work you put in down there started to click,” Voit said. “That’s what I was kind of waiting for. Obviously, I needed at-bats to get those opportunities. It was kind of a nice start to the day.”
The finish was not bad, either.
After Jonathan Villar hit a two-run homer off David Robertson in the seventh to put the Orioles ahead, 4-2, the Yankees crept even in the eighth. A pair of broken-bat singles and a walk preceded a two-run single to right by Gleyber Torres that scored Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andujar, who slid home safely when catcher Austin Wynns could not corral a one-hop throw from Jones.
The Yankees carried the game into the 10th inning, where Walker blasted a home run over the center-field wall. Then, with Torres aboard, Voit followed suit.